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How Small Business Can Compete with the "Big Guys"


As a small business, you are undoubtedly concerned with the “big guys” that are encroaching on your turf. It could be a big box store that seems to offer everything at a lower price. Or an e-tailer with a massive marketing budget that delivers products right to customer doors. While it might seem like there’s no way you can compete with those types of companies, the truth is that you can.


Sure, the odds of you growing your small business to that size are slim to none. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t carve out a nice space in the market and build a nice living for yourself. The fact is that despite how challenging it can be, there has never been an environment more conducive to playing David to their Goliath. The internet and our connected age have especially made it possible. So, if you are under threat or worried about a “Big Guy” near you, here’s what you can do to compete and thrive.


Make it All About the Customer

One of the most significant advantages that small businesses have over big boxes and e-tailers is providing excellent customer service. Sure, it’s convenient to get packages shipped right to your door or to run into a store and know they will have what you want. However, a small business can offer unsurpassed service and personalization. If you are a hardware store, then provide your customers with advice and guidance to go along with quality products. Answer the phone and answer questions if the customer isn’t buying something.


While customers like the convenience of the big guys, they also like personalization and customer experience. This is more valuable than ever in a world where consumers are often treated like numbers on a spreadsheet and not real people. Give the customers a great experience, and you will build a solid and loyal customer base that you can rely on to help you find success.


Develop a Strong Digital Footprint

The internet can be a great equalizer, and nothing is stopping you from being able to take advantage to help keep up. First, invest in your digital presence. If you are a local business with a local market, make sure that your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts get you high up on search engine rankings. The big guys probably won’t have a web page geared toward your locality, so you can beat them to some customers.


Your social media can also be friendly and engaging. Show off some of your brand’s personality, and respond to your audience. Make sure that you acknowledge comments and complaints, and keep conversations going. If your audience is having conversations with you, then they will grow to trust your brand. When someone trusts a brand, they are more likely to spend their hard-earned money on it. Remember that you have something the big guys don’t: you can show more personality and build connections on a personal level much more quickly.


Get the Right Insurance

While having insurance won’t suddenly make your business a behemoth, it will help you navigate risk. As a small business, you can’t afford missteps or negative incidents that will cost you big dollars. Your margins are probably tight, and your risk tolerance is low. If you are busy paying for a personal injury lawsuit or have lost inventory to vandalism, you aren’t able to do what needs to be done to compete.


It would be best if you had the proper protection for your business in the form of insurance. For starters, every business should have general liability coverage to protect against the cost of lawsuits. In every state but one, it is the law that you must have workers’ compensation coverage. If you have property and equipment, then commercial property insurance will help with repair and replacement costs if there is damage from natural disasters, water damage, vandalism, or other hazards. These are just some examples, and every business has different risks. Preventing severe fallout from those risks with the right insurance will help conserve your money to invest in growing your business and competing.


Be Flexible

Think of two ships in the ocean approaching an iceberg. One is a fishing yacht, and the other is a large tanker. Which one do you think will be able to avoid a collision? Naturally, it would be the fishing vessel. This is because smaller ships are more agile and can quickly change their course.


The same is true of big corporations and small businesses. You can take advantage of new trends and innovations much faster than a large company could. There’s a good chance that you have less red tape to deal with, and you can make a unilateral decision without needing to talk to shareholders and board members. You can get a new product or service out to the consumer right away and hopefully keep some of the customers you’ve gained before the big guys get on the same path.


Have a Niche

One way to create an excellent space for yourself in the market is to choose a niche and become the best at it. Large companies tend to have multiple revenue streams and endless products and services. While you might not be able to compete on that level, you can compete by choosing one of the things that a big company offers and doing it better.


For example, food companies can have many products with different flavors and different dietary needs to meet. However, you can take a bite out of their customer base, at the very least in your local area, by producing a superior product to what they are offering. This is why local health food stores and bakeries tend to do well. Consumers want local goods, but they do not want to sacrifice quality for them. So you can give them what they are looking for.


As you can see, there are many ways that you can compete with the big guys in your market. Yes, it is daunting and intimidating, but with some hard work and some ingenuity, you can not only compete but build your brand to where you’ve dreamed it could go.


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